This is a very late post, but I just did not have the time during the week to work on it. I'll now have time to get out and about again and will endeavour to try and publish posts earlier in the week. Although, I'm still waiting on an operation, which will halt my activities for a while, I am wanting to re-sight as many ringed birds as possible, which I've recorded during the past two winters.
|Antrim Marina - Sunday 6th August 2017|
Today saw the start of my 5th winter of weekly visits to Antrim Marina. The aim of these visits, are to record 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls from a Study being conducted by Adam McClure, as well as watching out for other 'ringed' birds.
Arriving just after 9am, leaving just after 1pm, what a miserable day it was. Rain, often persistent, fell for most of my visit and the lack of gulls did not help. Although, Black-headed Gulls were present throughout my stay, these never numbered any higher than around 50 birds. Two thirds of them, were this summers youngsters, who have quickly learned to get their share of bread being fed to the ducks.
Only four of Adam's birds were spotted at the Marina, with another two birds found feeding on the grass behind the small cafe. On leaving and driving along the avenue leading to the main road, I spotted a flock of around 150 BHGs, resting on the playing fields close to the Antrim Forum. They were not there, when I arrived this morning.
I am hoping to re-sight 28 of Adam's Study birds over the coming weeks, along with White T35J from Lithuania. There will be a couple of 'metal-ringed' gulls, that I hope to re-sight, especially an Icelandic BHG, that was ringed as a chick in 2003. On top of these, there will be the new-sightings of ringed birds. The six gulls recorded today, are all known to be residents.
Two Herring Gull chicks, were present throughout my visit, but only one seemed to belong to an adult, which would put in an appearence every now and again. Only one Lesser Black-backed Gull was recorded, unlike recent visits, where several birds were present. Surprisingly, no Common Gulls arrived, despite birds having been sighted on all three of my recent visits.
The only swans, were the pair with the five cygnets, that I first saw here back on the 8th June. All five are doing really well and readily leave the water to be hand fed with bread. Mallards, numbered around 50 birds, but none had rings.
Three young Hooded Crows, were always on the watch for bread, as were 13 Jackdaws, that included a few juveniles. A single Rook and a juvenile Grey Wagtail, were the only other species noted.
Black-headed Gulls present on Sunday 6th August
Black-headed Gull - 2AAC - Antrim Marina, County Antrim (06 Aug 2017)
(Ringed as an un-sexed Adult, on the 11th December 2012, at Antrim Marina)
Black-headed Gull - 2BRA - Antrim Marina, County Antrim (06 Aug 2017)
(Ringed as an Adult Female, on the 1st February 2015, at Antrim Marina)
Antrim's Elim Church and KFC Outlet
After leaving Antrim Marina, I drove across the town of Antrim, to the Elim Church and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. After each of my previous three visits to the Marina, I called by the KFC, to see if the Black-headed Gull 2ADD , was present. 2ADD , is known to stop at the oulet, in the weeks running up to the breeding season and again before moving on to the coastal town of Carrickfergus for the winter. On all three occasions, not a single gull was to be seen here or at the nearby Elim Church.
It was all change today, as 12 Black-headed Gulls were feeding on the grass beside the KFC outlet. Throwing bread out of the car window, the gulls flew over to me. Straight away, I noticed a Green Darvic and knew this would be the Norwegian JK35 . JK35 was re-sighted back in Norway, twice in the summer (Blog & ), having left Antrim KFC, after my last sighting on the 12th March 2017.
This will be JK35's third season wintering at Antrim KFC. Last year, I recorded it's return on the 7th August. Previously, a very wary gull, JK35 seems to remember the feeding routine that I use and readily approached my car this time.
There were no gulls at the Elim Church, although 2AAV is known to spend a lot of time in the area of the Church, during the winter months.
Black-headed Gull - JK35 - KFC, Antrim Town, County Antrim (06 Aug 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 18th June 2014, at Torvmyra, Stavanger, Norway)